The hypothalamic-pituitary system is essential for maintaining life and controlling systemic homeostasis. The functional disorder makes patients suffer from various symptoms all their lives. Pluripotent stem cells, such as embryonic stem (ES) cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, differentiate into neuroectodermal progenitors when cultured as floating aggregates under serum-free conditions. Recent results have shown that strict removal of exogenous patterning factors during the early differentiation period induces rostral hypothalamic-like progenitors from mouse ES cells. The use of growth factor-free, chemically defined medium was critical for this induction. The ES cell-derived hypothalamic-like progenitors generated rostral-dorsal hypothalamic neurons, in particular magnocellular vasopressinergic neurons. We subsequently reported self-formation of adenohypophysis in three-dimensional floating cultures of mouse ES cells. The ES cell aggregates were stimulated to differentiate into both non-neural head ectoderm and hypothalamic neuroectoderm in adjacent layers. Self-organization of Rathke’s pouch-like structures occurred at the interface of the two epithelia in vitro. Various pituitary endocrine cells including corticotrophs and somatotrophs were subsequently produced from the Rathke’s pouch-like structures. The induced corticotrophs efficiently secreted ACTH in response to CRH. Furthermore, when engrafted in vivo, these cells rescued systemic glucocorticoid levels in hypopituitary mice. Our latest study aimed to prepare hypothalamic and pituitary tissues from human pluripotent stem cells. We succeeded in establishing the differentiation method using human ES/iPS cells. The culture method is characterized by replication of stepwise embryonic differentiation. Therefore, these methods could potentially be used as developmental and disease models, as well as for future regenerative medicine.
Using a combination of high throughput and bioinformatics strategies, in combination with a system biology approach, a group of related genes including EAP1 and CUX1 whose expression increased at the time of female puberty were singled out from the hypothalamus of nonhuman primates and rats. It was hypothesized that EAP1 and CUX1 genes may be required for the timely initiation of female puberty by regulating the expression of KISS1 gene. Therefore, we measured the hypothalamic expression of EAP1 and CUX1 genes of female SD rats in mRNA and protein levels along with the numbers of respective immunoreactive cells at three different development stages (juvenile, early puberty and adult). Besides, we investigated the distribution of their immunoreactive cells. Although there was no changes in the mRNA levels of EAP1 and CUX1 in the hypothalamus during the different sexual development stages, the protein expression of EAP1 in the early-puberty group was significantly higher than that in the juvenile group. Moreover, we found that EAP1 and CUX1 genes were localized in neuronal nuclei. Both were prominent in cells of the the arcuate nucleus (ARC) of the rat hypothalamus which was also the main localization of KISS1 gene. Especially, CUX1 gene was co-expressed in the kisspeptin neurons. Furthermore, the number and percentage of EAP1 immunoreactive cells in the early-puberty group were both significantly more than the juvenile group. Above results indicate that EAP1 gene may be involved in the neuroendocrine control of female puberty in correlation with the kisspeptin signaling.
This study was designed with the goal of examining the effects of voglibose administration on body weight and lipid metabolism and underlying mechanism high fat diet-induced obese mice. Male C57BL/6 mice were randomly assigned to one of four groups: a control diet (CTL), high-fat diet (HF), high-fat diet supplemented with voglibose (VO), and high fat diet pair-fed group (PF). After 12 weeks, the following characteristics were investigated: serum lipid and glucose levels, serum polar metabolite profiles, and expression levels of genes involved in lipid and bile acid metabolism. In addition, pyrosequencing was used to analyze the composition of gut microbiota found in feces. Total body weight gain was significantly lower in the VO group than in the CTL, HF, and PF groups. The VO group exhibited improved metabolic profiles including those of blood glucose, triglyceride, and total cholesterol levels. The 12-week voglibose administration decreased the ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes found in feces. Circulating levels of taurocholic and cholic acid were significantly higher in the VO group than in the HF and CTL groups. Deoxycholic acid levels tended to be higher in the VO group than in the HF group. Voglibose administration downregulated expression levels of CYP8B1 and HNF4α genes and upregulated those of PGC1α, whereas FXRα was not affected. Voglibose administration elicits changes in the composition of the intestinal microbiota and circulating metabolites, which ultimately has systemic effects on body weight and lipid metabolism in mice.
The objective of this study was to compare the safety and efficacy of high-dose and low-dose intravenous (iv) glucocorticoid (GC) therapy in patients with Graves’ ophthalmopathy (GO) and to investigate which factors may help determine appropriate iv GC doses. The medical records of 43 patients who received different doses of iv GCs for GO were retrospectively reviewed. Twenty patients received high-dose iv GCs (HD group, cumulative dose 9.0-12.0 g) and 18 received low-dose iv GCs (LD group, cumulative dose 4.5 g). Five patients with previous treatment for GO were excluded. Changes in ophthalmic parameters after treatment and frequencies of adverse effects due to GCs of the 2 groups were compared. We also reviewed the incidence of GO progression and hepatic dysfunction after patients were discharged. We evaluated correlations among pretreatment (before treatment) ophthalmic parameters and investigated useful predictive factors for determining iv GC doses. There were no significant differences in ophthalmic parameters reflecting treatment efficacy or overall safety between the groups. Among baseline ophthalmic parameters, corrected signal intensity ratio (cSIR) correlated well with magnetic resonance imaging findings and were more strongly associated with changes in ophthalmic parameters after treatment in the HD group than in the LD group, indicating that pretreatment cSIR might be useful for determining iv GC doses. In conclusion, there were no significant differences in overall safety and efficacy between high-dose and low-dose iv GC therapy in patients with active GO. Further randomized clinical trials with longer observation periods are required to establish the optimal treatment regimen of GO.
Sucralose is an artificial sweetener and activates the glucose-sensing receptor expressed in pancreatic β-cells. Although sucralose does not enter β-cells nor acts as a substrate for glucokinase, it induces a marked elevation of intracellular ATP ([ATP]c). The present study was conducted to identify the signaling pathway responsible for the elevation of [ATP]c induced by sucralose. Previous studies have shown that sucralose elevates cyclic AMP (cAMP), activates phospholipase C (PLC) and stimulates Ca2+ entry by a Na+-dependent mechanism in MIN6 cells. The addition of forskolin induced a marked elevation of cAMP, whereas it did not affect [ATP]c. Carbachol, an activator of PLC, did not increase [ATP]c. In addition, activation of protein kinase C by dioctanoylglycerol did not affect [ATP]c. In contrast, nifedipine, an inhibitor of the voltage-dependent Ca2+ channel, significantly reduced [ATP]c response to sucralose. Removal of extracellular Na+ nearly completely blocked sucralose-induced elevation of [ATP]c. Stimulation of Na+ entry by adding a Na+ ionophore monensin elevated [ATP]c. The monensin-induced elevation of [ATP]c was only partially inhibited by nifedipine and loading of BAPTA, both of which completely abolished elevation of [Ca2+]c. These results suggest that Na+ entry is critical for the sucralose-induced elevation of [ATP]c. Both calcium-dependent and -independent mechanisms are involved in the action of sucralose.
Aerobic (sub lactate threshold; sub-LT) exercise training facilitates oxidative phosphorylation and glycolysis of skeletal muscle. Thyroid hormone (TH) also facilitates such metabolic events. Thus, we studied whether TH signaling pathway is activated by treadmill training. Male adult rats received 30 min/day treadmill training with different exercise intensity for 12 days. Then plasma lactate and thyrotropin (TSH) levels were measured. By lactate levels, rats were divided into stationary control (SC, 0 m/min), sub-LT (15 m/min) and supra lactate threshold (supra-LT; 25 m/min) training groups. Immediately after the last training, the soleus muscles were dissected out to measure TH receptor (TR) mRNA and protein expressions. Other rats received intraperitoneal injection of T3, 24 h after the last training and sacrificed 6 h after the injection to measure TH target gene expression. TSH level was suppressed in both sub-LT and supra-LT groups during the exercise. TRβ1 mRNA and protein levels were increased in sub-LT group. Sensitivity to T3 was altered in several TH-target genes by training. Particularly, induction of Na+/K+-ATPase β1 expression by T3 was significantly augmented in sub-LT group. These results indicate that sub-LT training alters TH signaling at least in part by increasing TRβ1 expression. Such TH signaling alteration may contribute metabolic adaptation in skeletal muscle during physical training.
Short-term intensive insulin therapy is effective for type 2 diabetes because it offers the potential to achieve excellent glycemic control and improve β-cell function. We observed that the time to glycemic goal (TGG) was adjustable. Original data of 138 newly diagnosed type 2 diabetic patients received intensive insulin therapy by continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion for 2-3 weeks were retrospectively collected. Subjects underwent an intravenous glucose tolerance test (IVGTT) and an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) pre and post treatment. The glycemic goal was achieved within 6 (4-8) days. Patients were divided into two groups by TGG above (TGG-slow) and below (TGG-fast) the median value. Patients in both groups had significantly better glycemic control. Compared with TGG-fast, TGG-slow required a few more total insulin and performed more improvement of HOMA-β and IVGTT-AUCIns, but less improvement of HOMA-IR and QUICKI. Multiple linear regression analysis revealed that TGG was always an explanatory variable for the changes (HOMA-β, IVGTT-AUCIns, HOMA-IR and QUICKI). The hypoglycemia prevalence was lower in TGG-slow (1.48% vs. 3.40%, P<0.01). Multivariate logistic regression analysis indicated that individuals in TGG-slow had a lower risk of hypoglycemia (adjusted OR, 0.700; 95% CI, 0.567-0.864; P<0.05). Multiple linear regression analysis confirmed that the ratio of the incremental insulin to glucose responses over the first 30 min during OGTT (ΔIns30/ΔG30), average insulin dose before achieving targets, initial insulin dose and LDL-c were independent predictors for TGG. It is intriguing to hypothesize that patients with fast time to glycemic goal benefit more in improving insulin sensitivity, but patients with slow time benefit more in improving β-cell function and reducing the risk of hypoglycemia.
The dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors vildagliptin and sitagliptin are effective in treating patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Patients receiving standard doses of sitagliptin plus insulin may require increased doses of sitagliptin or switching to vildagliptin to improve blood glucose control. This study compared the effects of increasing sitagliptin and switching to vildagliptin in type 2 diabetes patients receiving standard doses of sitagliptin plus insulin. This prospective, randomized, parallel-group comparison trial enrolled 33 type 2 diabetes patients receiving 50 mg sitagliptin once daily plus insulin. Seventeen patients were randomized to 50 mg vildagliptin twice daily, and 16 to 100 mg sitagliptin once daily, and evaluated by continuous glucose monitoring at baseline and after 8 weeks. The primary end-point was the change in mean amplitude of glycemic excursions (MAGE). MAGE decreased from baseline in both the vildagliptin (-13.4 ± 35.7 mg/dL) and sitagliptin (-8.4 ± 24.3 mg/dL) groups, but neither within- nor between-group changes were statistically significant. Similarly, the areas under the curve for blood glucose levels ≥180 mg/dL and <70 mg/dL tended to improve in both groups, but these differences were not statistically significant. In contrast, HbA1c was significantly reduced only in the vildagliptin group, from 7.1 ± 0.6% at baseline to 6.8 ± 0.6% at 8 weeks (p=0.006). Increasing sitagliptin dose and switching to vildagliptin had limited effects in improving MAGE in type 2 diabetic patients treated with standard doses of sitagliptin.
Graves’ ophthalmopathy (GO) is a common manifestation of Graves’ disease (GD); however, its pathogenesis is not well understood. Recently, the dysregulation of regulatory T cells (Tregs) has been thought to be closely associated with the pathogenesis and clinical symptoms of autoimmune disease. We therefore evaluated whether T cell subsets, including Tregs, are associated with GO pathogenesis and clinical symptoms. In this observational study we evaluated 35 GD patients with overt ophthalmopathy (GOs) and 28 patients without ophthalmopathy (non-GOs). Fifteen healthy euthyroid patients served as healthy controls (HCs). Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from GOs, non-GOs and HCs were analyzed for CD4, CD25, and FoxP3 expression using flow cytometry. We also evaluated their correlation with disease activity according to the clinical activity score (CAS) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings. Disease severity was evaluated using the NOSPECS score, and clinical progression of GO was followed for 24 weeks. The main outcome measures were the frequencies of FoxP3-positive and -negative CD4+ CD25+ T cells at study outset, namely Tregs and effector T cells (Teffs), respectively. GOs had higher frequencies of Teffs (30.8±8.4%) than non-GOs (19.4±7.1%) and HCs (22.7±7.9%). Notably, patients with improved GOs had lower frequencies of Tregs (5.8±1.1%) than patients with stable or deteriorated GOs (7.3±1.2%), although ophthalmic and radiological parameters were not significantly different at the start of the study. In conclusion, an expanded Teff population may be associated with GO pathogenesis. Additionally, decreased Tregs in peripheral blood may predict a good clinical outcome.